KEARNEY — Carson Noecker recorded his second straight Class C individual state cross country championship in emphatic fashion Friday.
The Cedar Catholic sophomore crushed the field, outpacing runner-up Mason Sindelar of Pierce by over 31 seconds and his personal best en route to another ring.
“It didn’t occur to me until earlier (Saturday) and I have to be thankful to my family and my coaches and most of all to God and the way he helped me to run that,” Noecker said.
His coaches said his running was something from a whole different world.
“Carson ran above expectations at the State level,” Hartington-Newcastle head coach Mandy Hochstein said. “Coach (Laura) Noecker and I knew that he had the ability to win and in the back of our minds we knew he might be fast enough to get an All Class Gold as well.
“He was prepared physically, however, as a sophomore, there is a lot of pressure knowing that he was being watched by so many fans. Carson handled the pressure.”
Noecker ran a 4:44 first-mile split and a 4:57 mile pace while ultimately earning the All-Class Gold Medal by over 15 seconds.
Hochstein’s program made the most of a season that was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We treated every practice and meet as if it could be our last due to COVID,” she said. “In the end, we were blessed with a full season and very little interruption from the ongoing challenges brought on by this pandemic.”
Going forward, the Wildcats should be back and better than ever.
“We will lose one senior from the boys team, Riley Kuehn, and look forward to returning a strong boys team next year,” Hochstein said. “Carson will return as a junior and could have a look at the All Class state Record. Parker Albers will return as a strong senior leader, and we will have three returning juniors and three returning sophomores as well.
“Our girls team will return in small numbers, as we will graduate Sara Burbach and Makenzie Arens, but I look forward to watching Jessica Opfer in the future. As a first-year runner, she surprised herself at her capabilities and will only continue to get stronger. Kaydence McCray will also return as a sophomore. This program is so much fun to coach. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.”
For Carson Noecker, he won another title running in the cold weather to which he has grown accustomed.
Now he wants to keep training to get ready for a track season he hopes to see come to fruition after losing last spring’s season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I will keep going and I am thinking long distances (for track), but it’s one of those things that once you get there you may try some new things,” he said. “Right now, I am thinking the mile and the two-mile and maybe the 800 or something in that area.”
Team scoring: Milford 87, Sidney 99, Fort Calhoun 101, Lincoln Christian 102, Aurora 104, Malcolm 110, Columbus Scotus 111, Minden 125, Pierce 125, St. Paul 126, Gothenburg 132, Broken Bow 135, O’Neill 172, Boys Town 205, Louisville 244.
Individual results: 1, Carson Noecker, Hartington, 15:22.1. 2, Mason Sindelar, P, 15:53.9. 3, Conner Wells, SP, 16:43.9. 4, William Anderson, G, 16:51.6. 5, Thomas Lokken, Wilber-Clatonia, 16:54.8. 6, Zach Cloud, GICC, 16:58.0. 7, Daniel Bashtovoi, Sid, 17:01.8. 8, Caden Knutson, Mitchell, 17:02.8. 9, Dylan Riley, Aur, 17:04.3. 10, Brady Thompson, O’Neill, 17:05.3. 11, Elliott Reitz, Mil, 17:05.5. 12, Brandon Mitzel, West Point-Beemer, 17:06.8. 13, Jacob Rupp, FC, 17:11.1. 14, Gavin Geneski, 17:12.5. 15, Ty Brockhaus, Mal, 17:13.7.
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